US Mint

What are Mint Marks and Why are they Important

mint mark

Mint Marks are the tiny letters referring to the locality where the minting of coins took place. The position of mint mark can be found typically on the back side of coins that were minted before the year 1965 and on the front after the year 1967.

Coins of every US mint branch are recognized by mint marks.

The “Director of the Mint”, through the “Act of March 3, 1835”, set rules to classify and distinguish the coins released from every US Mint branch. This core management set accurate standards and pattern of production as well as responsible coinage.

Mintmarks that appear on US coins include:

  • C: Charlotte (Gold only, 1838-1861)
  • CC: Carson City (1870-1893)
  • D: Dahlonega, Georgia (Gold only, 1838-1861)
  • D: Denver (1906 to date; easily distinguishable from Dahlonega because of the different timeframes in which the mints operated)
  • O: New Orleans (1838-1909)
  • P: Philadelphia (Silver “Nickels” 1942-45; Dollar coins 1979 to date; other coins except cents 1980 to date. Although the Philadelphia mint has been operating continuously since 1793, most Philadelphia coins do not have a mintmark)
  • S: San Francisco (1854 to date. Now mints collector coins only. The last circulating coin to bear an ‘S’ mintmark was the 1980-S SBA Dollar)
  • W: West Point (1983 to date; collector coins only)

 

mint marks

All dies for US coins are produced at the Philadelphia Mint and prior to shipping the coins to their mint branch, coins are marked first with the correct and designated mint markings. The precise size and positioning of the coins’ mint mark can slightly vary; this is influenced by how deep the punch was impressed and where.

The importance of mint marks:

Collectors can determine the value of a coin though mint mark, date and condition examination, making the coins condition the most significant factor and standard when determining its value.  Different mints produce a different quantity of coins and therefore some coins from mints having smaller quantities can be more valuable.

U.S. Mint Suspends Sale of Silver Eagle Coins

2015 Silver EagleThe U.S. Mint has suspended sale of U.S. silver eagle coins because a large increase in demand has depleted their inventories. In the memo to authorized purchases said the suspension would last about two weeks.

In today’s memo to bullion coin buyers, the Mint said:

“As you are aware, the significant increase in demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins depleted our current inventories. The United States Mint facility at West Point, New York, continues to produce American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins and we anticipate resuming sales in approximately two weeks.”

The Morgan Dollars

Probably the most beautiful and collectable coins today – the Morgan dollars.

The Morgan dollars were named after it’s developer, George T. Morgan.  The Morgan dollar is 90% pure silver, also it was minted from 1878 to 1805, and it was minted for a one year in 1921.

Why the oddity of minting the Morgan dollars for just one single year following a 16 year hiatus?  Well, in 1921 the $1 design was modifying from the then current Peace dollar towards the Sacagawea dollar.  Just about eighty-six million Morgan dollars were struck in 1921 by the US Mint, because the replacement wasn’t ready to fulfill the legal requirements set by Congress for maintaining $1 coinage production.

The morgan dollar was overproduced throughout it’s period, and around two-hundred and seventy million Morgan dollars were ruined after it’s mintage was stopped.  For this reason, the Morgan dollar happens to be highly desired by collectors…  Not just for it’s beauty and silver content material, but for it’s rareness.  Needless to say, 1921 is still one of the most common years of mintage linked to the Morgan dollar.

But how are you able to determine a Morgan dollar from other coins just like the Franklin half-dollar or the popular Buffalo coin?  Or even from fakes and duplication copies?

The obverse side will have a different side profile of a woman having a band of laurel intwined in her hair.  This woman is the Lady Liberty, as shown by George T. Morgan.  It comes with an old neoclassical design, and it is easily noticeable from the Peace dollar Lady Liberty.

On the opposite you will notice an eagle, the iconic symbol of the United States, having a wraith that encompasses the eagle.  You will even note the domination “One Dollar”, and the words “United States of America”.

Bring your Morgan and place it on a digital scale.  It should weigh close to 0.7734 ounces.  If it weighs a lot more it’s  a reproduction.  If it weighs considerably less, then, it’s either severely used or a reproduction that has a light metal.

Simple, isn’t it?  Now that you know what you’re trying to find all you have to do now is find some Morgan dollars to buy and collect.

A Few Dollar Coins Worth Adding To Your Coin Collection

There are so many options available to you with dollar coin collecting that you would be hard pressed to identify the better dollar coins that are worth collecting.

Early Silver Dollars were minted to replace the Spanish Eight Reales and Spanish Milled Dollar coins that were freely circulating in the newly-formed United States. These large, heavy silver coins were in great demand in the early days of our nation and supply could barely match the demand.

The Flowing Hair Dollar was made in only the second year after the start of US Mint operations and was available in limited numbers with them being produced only for a couple of years with only about 162,000 coins in all. It was later replaced with the Bust Dollar that was minted in the middle of 1795. However, the Flowing Hair dollar is much sought after and its value is very, very high. The first struck 1794 Silver Dollar is currently valued at $10 million dollars.

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